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Unread April 13th, 2006, 05:10 PM
Carey N Carey N is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 138
Default Re: Pinker's Blank Slate

Hi Margaret,

Let me say that it's great to have consistently active and thoughtful members, such as yourself, in this forum. The purpose of this post to impart some advice, which I hope you will not find patronizing, about your rhetorical style and interaction with Fred that may allow future conversations to proceed a bit more smoothly. Granted, one should not expect to experience his rosy side (but I know you have one, Fred).

Your seed post on this thread began by stating that you were unconvinced by Steve Pinker's argument. Immediately thereafter, you describe a just-so story involving rocks that represent emotions. Later on in the post, you begin a paragraph with "I think . . ." and then reformulate Pinker's metaphor to your own liking. This kind of argumentative style will never fail to spike BS-o-meters, especially Fred's, which is hyper-sensitive. I am not saying that the content of your post is BS - but without reference to bona fide research of some kind to distinguish your hypothesis from Pinker's, you won't convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you.

Fred's penchant for insulting others is frustrating, sometimes even infuriating, but if you take it as an indication that your argument needs clarification (or maybe overhaul), then sometimes you can benefit from his feedback (though he won't acknowledge it).

Whatever you do, remember that Fred enjoys fights and fishes for them: don't take the bait.

Best,
Carey
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